Tony Granato hopes to restore golden glory to Team USA men's Olympics hockey

Badgers coach leads Team USA
Posted at 10:14 PM, Dec 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-22 23:22:33-05

There was only one Miracle on Ice, but if University of Wisconsin hockey coach Tony Granato can lead Team USA to its first gold medal since 1980, it just might be the biggest miracle since that time.

Granato says there was no better honor than the phone call he received from Team USA general manager Jim Johannson asking him to lead the 2018 Winter Olympics American squad. 

"I think the American people will be really proud of our team," Granato said.

Granato is still moved by his Olympic experience at the Calgary Games in 1988. 

"I can still hear the USA chants in my head, so it started in 1980 with our Miracle team with the USA chants, and that's the energy and the drive and the motivation that helps you get through the workouts," Granato said.

The U.S. team will not use NHL playres for the first time since 1998, because the league didn't like halting the season. Which means if Team USA can pull it off, expect comparisons to that 1980 Miracle on Ice team. 

"I think they've watched the movie 'Miracle,' they understand, they know who Mark Johnson is, who Mike Euruzione is and Jim Craig is. I'm just lucky to be old enough to experience it firsthand," Granato said.   

Granato only needs to look down the hall at work for some 1980 inspiration. Olympic hero Mark Johnson coaches the women's Badgers team. 

"Certainly I will ask him to put together a little bit of a good luck video for our players. A lot of the former players from the '80 team to give an inspirational speech," Granato said. 

That team was the last to win men's hockey gold for the USA, but Granato remains unfazed. 

"I think that gold medal is coming, I think going into this tournament it's pretty much wide open," Granato said. "We have a ton of confidence in the group that we have that we'll be able to compete. Our goal is to win a medal."  

Team USA will be unveiled during the NHL Winter Classic game between the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres on New Year's Day on NBC.